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5 Tips for Traveling in Valparaiso’s Casablanca Wine Country

Between Santiago and Valparaiso is the Casablanca Wine Region.

Its location in the middle of these two landmark cities makes it an obvious stopover when traveling through Chile.

Here are five tips to help you prepare for your next trip:

Try them All, But Pay Extra Attention to the White Wines

Casablanca is known for producing some of the best Sauvignon Blanc in Chile, as well as Chardonnay and other white varietals. Its location close to the ocean provides cool breezes and morning fogs, a climate ideal for white wines. The region has begun to churn out more cold-climate reds, such as Pinot Noir and Syrah, but white wine still remains supreme in this region. Be sure to plan and adjust your tasting cards accordingly.

Don’t Forget the Bubbly

That success in developing its white wines, specifically Chardonnay, has led Casablanca into the world of sparkling wine. It cannot be called Champagne – that designation belongs only to wine produced in the Champagne region of France – but the product is essentially the same: Chardonnay grapes, with extra yeast and sugar added during the second fermentation to create carbonation. Be sure to start out by trying any bubbly you see on tasting menus.

Spend the Night at Matetic Vineyards

Casablanca Valley is located about 45 miles from Santiago and 25 miles from Valparaiso; at those distances, it’s easy to make the trip to wine country and back in a single day. But that would be cutting out half the experience. So close but so far from the bustling city streets, Casablanca offers the chance to become immersed in its agricultural countryside.

Matetic Vineyards, for example, known for its organic wines, encompasses all one could hope for from a Chilean vineyard – tall palms, manicured gardens, and the terracotta-tiled La Casona Matetic Hotel. Its country-house feel is complemented by its formal, wine-pairing flagship restaurant, Equilibrio, and its tapa-style casual restaurant, Equilibrio. You can try both on an overnight, or one on a day trip.

Unless You Speak Spanish, Spring for a Tour

Driving yourself through wine country is possible, but we recommend taking a tour for a number of reasons. First, when you don’t have to drive, you don’t have to worry about limiting your tastings. Second, unless you speak Spanish, you won’t make the same connections flying solo as you would with an experienced guide, who can also serve as a translator, allowing you to ask questions about the wine and interact with employees. Consider a day tour from Wines & Barrels or a food-wine extravaganza from Wine and Dine.

Enjoy Other Products of the Valley

Before it was converted to a wine region in the 1980s, Casablanca was a more diverse agricultural area. Though wine is the main event now, there are still other products one can try while there. Bodegas RE, for example, makes its own balsamic vinegar, fruit liquors, and olive oils. Keep your eyes peeled for such specialties of the valley as you make your way through it – they make great souvenirs.

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